Labor group reports cuts in employee compensation amid COVID-19 crisis

Marje Pelayo

MANILA, Philippines — The Associated Labor Union – Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) expressed dismay over reports that several employers are cutting employees’ benefits in this time of crisis brought by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

ALU-TUCP Spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said some employees have reported cuts in their monthly salary and bonuses because employers were taking advantage of the advisory issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in May. 

According to DOLE Advisory No. 17, employers may opt to make arrangements with their employees should they need pay adjustments in order for the company to continue its operations following the impact of government-imposed quarantine restrictions to the economy. 

The labor group argued that certain employers are making a move to reduce benefits even without consultations with their employees. 

“Mayroong anim na porsiyento hanggang 25% ang ulat na natanggap namin na nagbawas ng sahod [We received reports that about 6% to 25% have imposed salary cut],” Tanjusay confirmed. 

Iyong sa mga benepisyo naman ay tinanggal na (din) ang 13th month pay [Others have also withdrawn the benefit for 13th-month pay],” he added.

Tanjusay said they have raised the matter to DOLE and they are still waiting for its action on the issue. 

For the part of the employers, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) argued that some of its members have already advanced the distribution of 13th-month pay to their respective employees since March of this year.

ECOP, however, cannot guarantee if all employers can provide for full employee benefits considering that 90% of employers in the country belong to micro-industry or small-scale businesses.

Noong mag-umpisa naman tayo ng lockdown nakiusap si Presidente na bayaran ng ang mga sweldo ng mga tao nila at i-advance ang 13th month pay [When the lockdown started, the President asked (employers) to release their employees’ salary and advance the distribution of 13th-month pay],” explained ECOP President Sergion Ortiz-Luis Jr.

Both groups agreed, meanwhile, that the problem in transportation is one of the major setbacks for the smooth flow of business in the country. 

In addition, ALU-TUCP fears that more employees might be laid off once the country enters into the second or third wave of the COVID-19 outbreak.MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

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